Understanding the Broader Context of Rural Hospitals and Profitability


Rural hospital closures remain a worrisome issue for policymakers and communities. Since 2005, 170 rural hospitals closed. The North Carolina Rural Health Research Program and Policy Analysis Center tracks these closures and studies potential predictors. Profitability is not the only predictor, but it is one of the main predictors of hospital closure. Researchers and policymakers are trying to better understand what leads up to a closure and how to develop sustainable healthcare models for communities that lose their hospital services. The intent of this infographic is to quantify rural hospital profitability in the broader context of all hospitals. Many rural hospitals qualify for special payment adjustments in recognition of the challenges they face in serving low-volume, geographically isolated communities that are heavily reliant on public insurance coverage (i.e., Medicare and Medicaid). These payment adjustments often receive significant attention from policymakers, researchers, and analysts without necessarily having the broader context.

North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center, Rapid Response to Requests for Rural Data Analysis
Andrew Maxwell, H. Ann Howard, George Pink